Efforts Underway To Keep Downtown YMCA Open

Location slated to close June 8 amid bankruptcy

Pittsburgh Sunset
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PITTSBURGH (NewsRadio 1020 KDKA) – Gym-goers and community members are banding together in an attempt to save the Downtown YMCA.

Concerned individuals presented a petition to Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto and Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald Tuesday, asking them to try to keep the Fifth Avenue branch operating.

The Downtown location is slated to close June 8 as a part of the YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy plans. In a release earlier this month announcing the filing, the organization said the Downtown facility costs more in rent than it actually brings in.

But those who use the facility say it’s worth saving. Dave Fawcett is an attorney Downtown and former Allegheny County Councilman who is helping with the petition. He told the KDKA Radio Afternoon News Tuesday the Downtown Y is a “community asset and resource.”  

“The Downtown Y isn’t just a fitness center or gym,” Fawcett said. “The facility is great and the central location just draws a ton of people of diverse backgrounds”

In the bankruptcy filing, the Y claims it is losing $85,000 a month in rent to the lease with landlord Millcraft Investments.  Fawcett hopes local leaders could help in negotiations between the two.

“I think if you get people involved and businesses in town, and nonprofits and foundations and the city and county governments there ought to be a good discussion and there ought to be a solution.”

Fawcett estimates 500 people signed the petition handed over Tuesday, but calls that “the tip of the iceberg.”

“There are tons of people that are interested and want a solution. I think we’re all hoping that it catches on as opposed to people sitting back and saying ‘oh it’s just a done deal.’”

Fawcett doesn’t believe that it is, and encourages community members and leaders to try to keep the Downtown YMCA open.

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